Axed Foley says no to Ireland return... but for how long?
Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed that Kevin Foley turned down an invitation to join the Irish squad for next month’s friendly against Serbia, but does that spell the end of his international career?
The Wolves defender was omitted from the final 23-man panel for the Euros in incredibly harsh circumstances immediately prior to the tournament earlier this summer. Having been included in the original squad, Foley was then left out prior to the Irish team’s departure from their Italian training camp as with injury concerns hanging over a number of players, Trap felt that the much maligned Paul McShane would offer better cover across a variety of positions.
Foley was understandably very upset about his exclusion from the squad and it was perhaps understandable that he turned down the chance to join a much-changed squad for next month’s friendly encounter with Serbia in Belgrade.
Speaking about Foley at today’s squad announcement in Donegal, Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni said that Foley wasn’t ready to return yet, but whether he will ever make himself available under Trap’s stewardship remains to be seen.
Judging by the initial reaction, the squad Trap did name hasn’t exactly whetted the appetite of Irish supporters, many of whom wanted radical change after our humiliating showing at the Euros.
Senior players such as Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne have been given a rest, while Keith Andrews misses out on account of his suspension for the opening qualifying game against Kazakhstan in September.
In their stead come the likes of Keith Treacy and Andy Keogh, players who have featured in the squad in the past, while players such as Wes Hoolahan, Anthony Pilkington and Ciaran Clark have been overlooked.
Trap did indicate that he had intended to call up Everton’s Shane Duffy and Manchester United’s Robbie Brady, but both will be required for a crucial Euro 2013 Under-21 qualifier next month.
The return of James McCarthy and Marc Wilson to the squad is one of the pleasing aspects of today’s announcement and Trap did confirm that McCarthy will play from the start against Serbia with a view to joining Glenn Whelan in the middle of the park against the Kazakhs.
Commenting on the squad, Trap said: “This friendly offers us a great opportunity to try out younger players ahead of our World Cup qualifying campaign.
"As a result, I have decided to leave some of our senior players out of the squad for this fixture. Serbia are a very good team with a great football heritage, and will provide us with a great test before our game against Kazakhstan in September.
“I am looking forward to working with each of these players next month. As we prepare for a new journey for this team, it is important that we remember our last campaign as we build for a brighter future.”
Given what happened in Poland during the summer, it’s still quite hard to envisage that brighter future at this moment in time, but it can hardly get any worse than what happened at the Euros, can it?